July 2, 2013 at 2:46 PM ET
After a runaway success on Kickstarter and some dubious early coverage, the new Ouya video game console is finally here. And while NBC News found much to be admired in the tiny Android-powered device, the real question that gamers are asking is: Are there enough good games to warrant plunking down $99 on a console from an untested startup just months before the tried and true major console developers are going to release their next-generation hardware?
As Ouya creator Julie Uhrman has repeatedly insisted, her aim with the new console is to offer gamers and developers alike unfettered access to as much content as possible — leaving the matter of curation and discovery to the players themselves. While NBC News hasn't had time to try out every one of the 200-plus games that already grace the console, here is our list of the ones that have grabbed our attention
"Super Crate Box"
An addictive and punishingly difficult game from the creators of the wonderfully weird iOS game "Ridiculous Fishing," "Super Crate Box" puts players in a pixelated construction site reminiscent of Nintendo classics like "Donkey Kong" and "Super Mario Bros." Your objective? Pick up as many boxes as possible while an endless stream of enemies pours down from the top of the level. The twist: each box contains a new weapon that dramatically upends your play style from moment to moment. So far I've only made it to eight boxes, but I'm still determined to make it to ten.
"No Brakes Valet!"
Within seconds of starting up "No Brakes Valet!," you are greeted with a top-down view of parking lot. Suddenly, a car hurls itself into the lot with reckless abandon, and it's your job to try to land it in a real parking space. Pretty soon the lot is overflowing with destroyed vehicles, skid marks and maybe even a flock of chickens, and the score card tells you that you did a terrible job. Parking has never been this hectic or fun.
As the name implies, much of the tactical complexity that arises in this excellent arcade-style game arises from the type of explosive device your cartoonish avatar is lucky (or unfortunate) enough to get his or her hands on. The controls can feel loose and occasionally slippery, but this only adds to the chaotic joy of chucking all manner of bombs at your friends or computer-controlled opponents. While the game is best in its local multiplayer matches, "BombSquad" offers enough minigames to keep groups of all shapes and sizes busy.
Feed your confusion over the difference between stalactites and stalagmites by trying to help a scientist escape from an erupting volcano. As chunks of rock fall towards the earth, you have leap up and attach yourself to the errant bits of earth, angling them to position yourself for the next leap into thin air. A multiplayer mode lets players compete to see who can make it the highest. "Stalagflight" is all the more impressive when considering that it was made in just 72 hours during a game jam.
"You Don't Know Jack"
There's not much new in the Ouya version of "You Don't Know Jack," but that's a good thing. There's a reason that "You Don't Know Jack" has stuck with its tried and true formula ever since the snarky quiz-show trivia game debuted in 1995, after all. The Ouya version starts out with 20 episodes that can be unlocked for $9.99, and supports up to four players.
If there's one game around which a critical consensus has already formed, it's "TowerFall." And with good reason — the game that many players and critics are calling the Ouya's first true "killer app" brings the best parts of couch multiplayer in the legendary "Super Smash Bros." tradition exclusively to the new console. The game has a single player mode that basically offers a series of timed puzzles, but "TowerFall" truly shines when played with three or four friends are hurling tiny pixelated arrows across the screen at one another. Expect fierce competition.